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Kansas City, Ho. 


MAY '. 

STACKS REF 92 V583f 

French, Edwin Mai com 
Chase. 187O- 







27 Beach Street 




Dedicated to 

the millions of dog-lovers the 
country over, and to those in- 
terested in the great outdoors 


This volume is not in any sense to be construed 
as an extended biography of the late Senator 
George Graham Vest, but touches briefly on some 
parts of his career, and brings out in detail the 
circumstances of the trial of the now famous 
Missouri dog case which more and more is caus- 
ing a thrill among the dog-lovers in this country, 
and furthermore to explain with some detail the 
splendid work accomplished by Senator Vest in 
the establishment of the Yellowstone National 

Senator Vest's love of dog and nature stands 
out prominently. 

The author desires to express his thanks to the 
Honorable Sam A. Baker, Governor of Missouri, 
George G. Vest, son of the late Senator, and 
others whose courtesy assisted in securing data 
for the work. 

1929 E. M. C. F. 



I Busy Life of Senator Vest 9 

II The Story of "Old Drum" and the 

Famous Speech 27 

III Senator Vest and the Yellowstone 

National Park 47 


The Late Senator Vest FRONTISPIECE 

Picture of the Late Colonel Blodgett. . . . opp. 20 



Time has not lessened in the slightest degree 
the force of the splendid tribute to the dog at 
Warrensburg, Missouri, fifty-nine years ago by 
the late Senator Vest of Missouri. Rather, it has 
added to its impressiveness and pathos immeasur- 
ably. Research into the life work of the Senator 
discloses many unusual incidents, incidents which 
illustrate the energy and resourcefulness of this 
colorful figure. 

Mr. Coolidge in his now famous "I do not 
choose" used no new phrase to express his feel- 
ings about his political future. Senator Vest, 
forty-three years ago, in a great discussion as to 
the advisability of the President of the United 
States naming a commission to investigate the 
liquor traffic, declared himself in this language. 

"I do not choose to be put in the attitude of 
advocating intemperance, and I do not choose to 
be placed in the category of opposing temperance, 
but I do not believe in the Federal Government, 
either by investigation or otherwise, invading 


what I suppose to be the constitutional province 
of the states." 

The United States Senate however voted the 
measure which provided for such a commission 
to be named by the President with the consent of 
the Senate, and to be composed of seven, not 
more than four of the same political party, and 
not to be advocates of prohibition, the commis- 
sion to investigate the liquor traffic, its relation 
to revenue and taxation, and general economic 

Senator George Graham Vest stood out for 
many years as one of Missouri's leading states- 
men. He was born in Frankfort, Kentucky, 
December 6, 1830, and passed away at Kansas 
City, Missouri, July 9, 1904. It was as a lawyer 
that Senator Vest achieved much fame in Mis- 
souri, and he was early prominent in its affairs. 
He was graduated from Center College, Ken- 
tucky, in 1848, and from the law department of 
the Transylvania University at Lexington, Ken- 
tucky, in 1853. ] 

, 7 Mr. Vest was born with negroes, as he once 
expressed it, nursed by them, owned them and 
never sold one for profit, he declared,, He treated 
them as he did members of his own family, and 
his former slaves, after the war, came to him in 
every adversity and for financial assistance.; Two 
of them, one an old nurse who fondled him in 
her arms, were recipients of his daily bounty and 
lived upon the means he provided them./ Senator, 
Vest was a sincere friend of the negroes and 
showed it in a human manner.^ 


After his admittance to the bar, the subject of 
this volume began practice in Georgetown, Mis- 
souri, moving to Booneville, Missouri, in 1856. 
Mr. Vest was a presidential elector on the Demo- 
cratic ticket in 1860, and a member of the Mis- 
souri house of representatives in 1860-61. Dur- 
ing the war he was a member of the Confederate 
Congress. He resumed his law practice in Sedalia, 
Missouri, in 1865, and was located there at the 
time he was called upon to aid in the dog case at 
Warrensburg. Twelve years later he moved to 
Kansas City where he thereafter made his home. 

When the dark clouds hung over the country 
in 1861 and when Missouri was one of the states 
where the strife was greatest, George Graham 
Vest was elected a member of the Confederate 
House of Representatives, serving' two years, and 
following that was a member of the Confederate 
Senate for a yean Mr. Vest's election to the Con- 
federate House followed a meeting of the mem- 
bers of the Missouri legislature, who were favor- 
able to the Confederacy, the meeting being held 
at Neosho, Newton County, two hundred miles 
southwest of Jefferson City. There were present 
twenty-three of the upper house and seventy- 
seven in the lower house of the legislature, and an 
act was passed November 2, 1861, unanimously 
by these men to ratify an arrangement between 
certain commissioners of the state and the Con- 
federate Government by which Missouri was to 
become a member of the Confederacy. 

Two senators were elected to the Confederate 
Senate in the persons of John B. Clark and R. L. 


Y. Peyton, and to the Confederate House of 
Representatives were elected George G. Vest, 
Thomas A. Harris, Casper W. Bell, A. H. 
Conad, Thomas Freeman, Dr. Hyer and W. M. 

As a member of the Confederate Congress, 
Mr. Vest was prominent and he considered that 
Jefferson Davis was loyal to the people he led in 
every fiber of his nature, and that this could not 
be doubted, save by the blindest prejudice. And 
so being granted whether Davis was mistaken in 
the conduct of the war or in the policy of his 
administration should be a sealed book to all who 
sympathized and suffered with him, was Vest's 

The Missouri statesman witnessed in the Con- 
federate Congress the bitter attacks on Davis' 
administration by Toombs, Yancey and Wigfall, 
Confederate leaders, whom he characterized as 
Toombs the Mirabeau of the revolution, Yancey 
whose lips were touched with fire, now the honey 
of persuasion, and then the venom of invective, 
Wigfall, brilliant, aggressive and relentless, the 
great triumvirate which assailed the Davis ad- 

Mr. Vest was equally strong in his appreciation 
of Benjamin H. Hill of Georgia, a member of 
the Confederate Congress and later of the United 
States Senate. They met first in the Confederate 
Congress, Mr. Hill was reluctant to embrace 
the Confederate cause, and was the last to leave 
it. Met by Vest at Columbus, Georgia, while 
preparations were made to abandon Richmond, 


Mr. Hill was engaged in the task of rallying the 
people of Georgia in what was a hopeless task. 

Senator Vest was an intense admirer of 
^/Thomas Jefferson, once making the statement 
^that Jefferson was the great political leader in 
^ whose doctrines he believed and in whose public 
he felt an especial pride and that Jefferson 
peculiarly the author of the doctrine of 
.^religious toleration in the United States. The 
^ first act of Jefferson, when he left the Continental 
Congress and became a member of the Virginia 
House of Burgesses, was to attack the doctrine 
iflf the union of church and state, and assert the 
fullest right of freedom of conscience and 
/^religious opinion. 

>. Jefferson said this was the most terrible 
^struggle of his long and eventful career, and 
[//against him were united all the great families of 
Virginia almost without exception, and, more 
/than all, the established church with its ministers 
and laity who resented his attack upon church and 
Estate as a sacrilege, and as a personal outrage 
upon themselves, said Mr. Vest, who further 
stated that so terrible was the struggle that the 
enmities which it engendered, pursued Jefferson 
throughout his life and assailed his memory after 
his death. 

Senator Vest's independence was never more 
strongly displayed than during the movement in 
1887 to annul two corporations in Utah, one being 
the Immigration Society and the other, the Mor- 
mon Church. Mr. Vest expressed his belief that 
the agitation would result in a law being passed 


to annul these corporations, but announced with 
vigor that he could not vote for it, saying, that he 
was well aware what the public sentiment of the 
country was, but that that made no sort of im- 
pression on him with his convictions as a legis- 
lator, or would any amount of criticism on his 
action. He contended that the proposed legisla- 
tion violated the fundamental principles of the 
Constitution and the rights of property. The 
point on which he based his action was that por- 
tion which provided for the settling up of the 
business of the two corporations after they were 
declared not to exist any longer, and for paying 
what was left into the United States treasury to 
be applied to the common school fund of Utah. 
Vest questioned the right of the government to 
apply the funds to common school purposes, and 
asserted that it was "naked, simple, bold con- 
fiscation and nothing else." 

In Senator Vest's long career nothing stands 
out more sharply than his position on the slavery 
question evidenced fifteen years after the close of 
the Civil War. 

The Claims Committee of the Senate reported 
favorably on the claim of Samuel A. Lowe for 
$4750. for services claimed to have been rendered 
and money expended as Clerk of the Territorial 
Legislatmi if Kansas Territory, and for copying 
the laws TxUlTiat territory in 1855. Senator John 
J. Ingalls of Kansas argued that it was an attempt 
to induce the Senate to pay for the compilation 
of the infamous slave code of the territory of 


Mr. Vest declared that he was not familiar 
with the details of the case but in this connection, 

"I have no disposition to go back to the history 
of that terrible and unforunate border war; great 
outrages were perpetrated by both sides. The 
original crime cannot be fastened and never will, 
if the pages of history are just to the living and 
the dead, upon the people of Missouri. The insti- 
tution of slavery has ceased to exist and for my- 
self I have no disposition to palliate or excuse 
any outrages that may have been committed with 
it. I desire that the recollection of them shall 
pass away but I know, and hundreds now living 
know, the unparalleled outrages perpetrated upon 
the people of my state by the men who are 
claimed today to have been martyrs in the cause 
of liberty and freedom on the soil of Kansas. 
The institution of slavery was with us by no voli- 
tion of our own, and we were unable to get rid of 
it by lawful means at that time." 

Following the war Senator Vest's activities and 
his fame increased so that in 1879 we find him 
entering his duties as United States Senator at 
Washington where his service as Senator con- 
tinued for twenty-four years. The state of Mis- 
souri kept its United States Senators in office for 
a long time, Francis M. Cockrell of|feat state 
holding the same office for thirty yearsr^nd .both 
Vest and Cockrell were of counsel in the famous 
Missouri dog case, considered in detail in the 
next chapter. 

Senator Vest always stressed the point that the 


work he did to establish the Yellowstone National 
Park and to create the Pure Food Act were more 
beneficial to humanity than his few words on the 
dog. He also always thought that his greatest 
speech was his address on Thomas Jefferson given 
in Columbia, Missouri, at the unveiling of a 
monument dedicated to Jefferson. 

Senator Vest was a leading figure in the great 
tariff discussion in the Senate in 1892, the oppo- 
nents of the protective system being led by Mr. 
Vest, who charged that no man could show that 
these enormous tariffs had helped the wool- 
growers of the United States, claiming that it 
was impossible that they could have done so, be- 
causes the wool-grower received no part of the 
bounty. He claimed that it was nothing but a 
bounty, and that it went to the manufacturer, that 
it did not go to all the manufacturers, but to a 
few of them. The American manufacturer, he 
argued, .collected the duty on the wool and put it 
in his own pocket. Mr. Vest charged that there 
were individual instances of wool manufacturers 
who had made enormous profits, as for instance, 
the Arlington mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts 
'the treasurer of which was Mr. William Whit- 
man. Mr. Vest's attack along this line brought 
forth a warm reply from Mr. Whitman who had 
served for some years in the capacity of President 
of the National Association of Wool Manufac- 

Mr. Whitman went so far as to write to Sen- 
ator William B. Allison at Washington in which 
he set forth that he was not aware of the existence 


of any trust in the wool-manufacturing business, 
and did not expect such a combination to be made 
under any conditions, that the conditions of wool- 
manufacture were such as to make trusts im- 

The controversy between Mr. Vest and Mr. 
Whitman raged warmly for a long time and 
there was some correspondence between the two, 
and in one letter to the Senator from Mr. Whit- 
man, the latter declared that he was at first much 
irritated by the Senator's attack which seemed to 
be unjust and outrageous, but that he then had 
reason to believe that Mr. Vest was misled by 
some of the young Democrats in Massachusetts, 
who had very little knowledge or experience in 
business, and who employed a person to u work 
up a case" against the Arlington mills in the in- 
terests of tariff reform, whose zeal ran away with 
his discretion and his regard for the truth. Mr. 
Whitman ended by cordially inviting the Senator, 
if at any time he could come to Massachusetts, to 
personally visit the Arlington mills and satisfy 
himself of the truth of what Whitman had writ- 
ten, to inspect the books and payrolls of the mills, 
to meet and talk with the operators, to see what 
homes they lived in, and what they had done by 
way of intelligent cooperation for their advan- 

The controversy was the subject of a great deal 
of comment pro and con in the newspapers, and 
the letter to Senator Allison from Mr. Whitman 
was printed in the Congressional Record, in 
answer to which Mr. Vest charged that Mr. 


Whitman above every other man in the United 
States was notoriously responsible for the provi- 
sions of the McKinley Act in regard to the wool 
tariff. This controversy was one of the outstand- 
ing features of Senator Vest's services in the Sen- 
ate and has been referred to, to illustrate the 
great force of character of the late Senator from 

This strength of character of Senator Vest is 
also illustrated by his speech in the Senate of 
February 16, 1903, at almost the close of his 
senatorial career. In this he said with emphasis 
that he wanted to make one observation in regard 
to points of order, for he should probably never 
again have an opportunity to discuss the question 
in the Senate. 

He declared, "My experience In a great many 
years of service in this body, is that the Senate 
of the United States, that is, the majority gen- 
erally does what it wants to do without regard to 
the rules. I never have known an instance when 
the sentiment in the Senate was decidedly in favor 
of certain legislation, that the rule was not over- 
ridden and disregarded if the Senate could pos- 
sibly get a vote as to the rule." 

Senator Vest asserted that he never considered 
that his speech on the dog deserved any great 
place in the annals of oratory but the consensus 
of opinion of the thousands of people who have 
read his address to the jury in this case, is that 
his tribute to canine fidelity was a masterpiece and 
has become world famous. 

Mr. Vest was close to forty years of age at the 


time he made this address, he being at that time 
a practicing attorney at Sedalia, Missouri, and 
associated in the case with Attorney John F. 
Philips of Sedalia, afterwards Commissioner of 
the Supreme Court of Missouri, and then Judge 
of the United States District Court for the west- 
ern district of Missouri. 

Mr. Vest, early in life, displayed affection for 
the dog and oftentimes praised the race which 
the poet characterized as "possessing beauty with- 
out vanity, strength without insolence, courage 
without ferocity, and all the virtues of man with- 
out his vices." 

The last survivor who heard Mr. Vest make 
his remarkable dog address was Colonel Wells 
H. Blodgett of St. Louis, widely known attorney 
who died May 8 of this year (1929) and was 
ninety years old. He was associated with Mr. 
Vest and other attorneys for the plaintiff in the 
case. Colonel Blodgett served as a State Senator 
in Missouri, afterwards became identified with 
the Wabash Railroad and was the President and 
General Solicitor for the road. 

Colonel Blodget died of the infirmities of age. 
He retired in 1915 after forty-three years as head 
of the Wabash Railroad legal department. At 
the outbreak of the Civil War he enlisted as 
private and rose rapidly to Colonel of the Forty- 
eighth Missouri Volunteer Infantry, winning the 
Congressional Medal of Honor. He entered the 
practice of law at Warrensburg, Missouri, and 
served one term each as State Representative and 
State Senator before he came to St. Louis. 


Colonel Blodgett in later life was known as the 
nestor of the St. Louis bar. In the famous dog 
case as one of the attorneys for the plaintiff Bur- 
den, he was the one who engaged Senator Vest 
to participate in the trial, doing this at the sug- 
gestion of his client. 

On February 15, 1894, the Congressional 
Medal of Honor was awarded to Colonel Blod- 
gett for distinguished gallantry in action at New- 
tonia, Missouri, September 20, 1862, (then 1st 
Lieutenant, Co, D, 37th Illinois infantry vol- 
unteers) the citation reciting, u With a single 
orderly, he captured an armed picket of eight men 
and marched them in prisoners." 

Mr. Vest's famous speech on the dog was the 
subject of action in the 1927 Missouri Legisla- 
ture, being read there in a debate on the question 
of canine tax, the speech being ordered as a part 
of the fifty-fourth general assembly's record. 
During the dying hours of the legislature, a dead- 
lock was relieved for a few minutes by one of the 
Senators reading the piece, after another Senator 
had endeavored to secure consent to pass a bill 
placing a tax on all dogs in the state and eliminat- 
ing predatory dogs in the sheep-raising districts 
of the state. 

A burst of applause followed the reading of 
the Vest dog speech, and the speech^was ordered 
printed as part of the record, the author of the 
canine tax however being unable to obtain consent 
to place the bill for final passage. 

Mr. Vest's long term in the Senate was in itself 
a very active service. Keenly alive to the needs 


of his constituents in the state of Missouri, he 
presented many bills in their behalf, participated 
in a great amount of committee work, and was 
one of the most active men in the Senate. In the 
questions of national importance few were more 
prominent in the debate than he. In those days 
Senators Allison, Teller, and Hoar, notable 
strong men in the Senate, were often heard. Sen- 
ator Vest went deep into every subject in which 
he became interested, having many consultations 
with people from whom information could be 
gleaned, and gave thorough consideration to the 
various angles involved. A practicing lawyer for 
years before he entered the Senate, his mind was 
equipped for unusual service in matters in which 
question of law and of fact were involved. He 
also kept in touch with men in various parts of 
the country who were in a position to furnish him 
information on questions to be threshed out in the 
Senate. George G. Vest in short could well have 
been termed "a working Senator." 

He was an uncompromising foe to women's 
suffrage and 6nce expressed his sentiments on this 
question in language like this: 

"What man can without aversion turn from the 
blessed memory of that dear old grandmother, or 
the gentle word and caressing hand of that 
blessed mother gone to the unknown world, to 
face in its stead the idea of a female justice of 
the peace or township constable. For my part, I 
want, when I go to my home, when I turn from 
the arena where man contends with man for what 
we call the prizes of this paltry world, to go back 


not to be received in the masculine embraces of 
some female ward politician, but to the earnest, 
loving look and touch of a true woman. I would 
not, and I say it, deliberately degrade woman by 
giving her the right of suffrage. I believe that 
woman as she is today, the queen of home and 
hearts, is above the political collisions of this 
world, and should always be kept above them." 

But few more inspiring words were ever spoken 
by any statesman than were those uttered by Sen- 
ator Vest in the Senate when he presented a bill 
in behalf of the family of General James Shields. 

General Shields, widely known Union soldier, 
was succeeded in the Senate at his death by Mr. 
Vest, and the latter moved in the bill that pay- 
ment of a pension of $100.00 monthly granted 
some time before to General Shields, be continued 
to his wife and children, on the ground that the 
family was then in indigent circumstances. The 
bill was passed. General Shields left his family 
only his glory and sword, declared Mr. Vest in 
his support of the bill. Continuing he said, "Com- 
ing from a nationality which has been unfortunate 
enough to pour its blood like water in defense of 
every country except their own, there is not an 
Irish heart in these free United States that will 
not beat with gratitude to this Congress for this 
sincere evidence of their appreciation of the ser- 
vices of their heroic countryman." 

Attached to the bill for the relief of the family 
of General Shields was a provision of $100.00 
monthly to be paid to Caroline S. Webster, widow 
of Colonel Fletcher Webster, Colonel of the 12th 


Massachusetts regiment, killed at the second 
battle of Bull Run. Colonel Webster was the son 
of the immortal Daniel Webster. 

The subject of this volume, in his varied public 
experience and in many utterances of an out- 
spoken nature, favored strongly reducing the 
course at the military academy at West Point to 
two years, as the ^remedy for hazing, and make 
it a strictly professional school. He claimed the 
faculty was loaded with a mass of elementary sub- 
jects in the physical sciences, in mathematics and 
even in languages which could be taught as well 
or better in the private and state schools of the 
country. West Point, he thought,* should confine 
itself to the specialties of the soldier's vocation. 

Senator Vest in his very colorful career vigor- 
ously opposed the movement to place Ex-Pres- 
ident U. S. Grant on the retired list of the army. 
The Missouri statesman opposed it in principle 
from beginning to end, but he proclaimed General 
Grant as one who passed into history beyond 
question as the greatest general of the Civil War. 
For General Grant's military skill Mr. Vest pub- 
licly expressed the very greatest admiration. 

The course pursued by General Grant at the 
close of the Civil War upon the hill of Appomat- 
tox, when he handed back to General Lee the lat- 
ter's sword, brought forth from Mr. Vest the 
statement that every southern heart went out in 
gratitude to Grant for his generous treatment of 

Mr. Vest's contention was, however, that when 
General Grant left the place provided for him 


by the representatives of the people and when he 
entered the arena of partisan politics, and when 
he took the chances of public life, he should stand 
the hazard of the die. The Senator emphasized 
that he disclaimed all personal hostility to Grant, 
and that his opposition was a matter of principle, 
and that as a representative of the people he could 
not consent to provide places for generals, no mat- 
ter how distinguished, who like senators, had 
taken the chances of political life and been beaten. 

Senator Vest as a practicing attorney had a 
wide and varied practice of the law. During the 
political campaign of 1870 in Missouri, it was 
deemed desirable by a party termed Liberal Re- 
publicans to establish a newspaper at Sedalia in 
the 5th Congressional district in that state. Can- 
didates on this ticket in conjunction with leading 
politicians instead of starting such a paper on an 
independent basis, concluded it was more advis- 
able to make an arrangement with a company 
called the Democratic Press Companv which 
already owned a newspaper plant, to publish their 
proposed paper, and under this arrangement, 
eio:ht people, including one Ritter, were named as 
a board of managers. The canvass proved unsuc- 
cessful and the company which owned the Demo- 
cratic Press plant, sued the managers to recover 
a claim for expense of printing the paper. Judg- 
ment was recovered against seven of the man- 
agers including Ritter. The latter paid his share 
and also that of one Bannon, and why he paid 
for the latter was not explained. 

In an action of Ritter against the Democratic 


Press Company, he sought to recover the money 
he had paid on the ground that three of the man- 
agers had colluded with the press company and 
made arrangements as would discharge their 
liability without the knowledge of Ritter. 

The latter lost his case. Mr. Vest was counsel 
for the Democratic Press Company. 

A man of great mental activity was the lawyer 
of Missouri, whose tribute to the dog gained him 
as much if not more fame than did twenty years' 
service in the Senate of the United States. 

Senator Vest had some ideas on death and once 
expressed himself in this impressive language: 

"It is said that death is the great enemy of our 
race but under certain circumstances and environ- 
ments this is not true. When the young, vigorous, 
ambitious and hopeful are stricken down, we 
stand shocked as if before some unfinished paint- 
ing or statue where the pencil or chisel has fallen 
from the nerveless hand of a great artist; but 
when life's work is done, when the task is finished, 
and we simply await the inevitable end death is 
oftentimes a friend." 

Such then were some of the salient facts in the 
life of a busy man, who found time to give atten- 
tion to many different avenues of pursuit, and who 
was as much at home trying a dog case, as he was 
in debate in the Senate of the United States. 

No state in the union suffered more from inter- 
necine strife and neighborhood war than Mis- 
souri, according to Mr. Vest, who said that the 
wounds there inflicted were deep and cruel, no 


man being willing to prophesy when their memory 
would pass away. 

The death of Congressman Alfred M. Lay of 
Missouri in 1879, shortly after his election to the 
National House, called for a beautiful tribute 
from Mr. Vest, who for twenty-five years had 
been a close friend of the Congressman. 

Mr. Vest said that Lay had often told him that 
it was the dream of his boyhood to represent his 
native state in the National Congress, and said 
Vest, "At last after years of struggle, the hour 
came when his hand reached to the prize and even 
in that moment he was stricken down." 

"In all political and even personal history, I do 
not know a sadder page than that upon which is 
written the termination of the ensuing canvass 
and of a life's ambition." 

Vest's tribute to Lay included this impressive 
language : 

"No life is perfect, but each has its aggregate 
of good or evil; and, aside from empty pane- 
gyric, this, at last must be the question as each 
of us drifts out upon the shoreless ocean, was 
his life for good or evil, were its duties per- 




In the latter part of 1869, four years follow- 
ing the close of the contest between the North and 
the South, in the state of Missouri, the feeling of 
unrest still lingered in the minds of its people and 
sometimes small matters started trouble. At this 
time two of the residents of Kingsville, Johnson 
County, Missouri, were Charles Burden and 
Leonidas Hornsby who were destined as plaintiff 
and defendant to figure in a long drawn out law- 
suit which engaged the services of some of Mis- 
souri's greatest lawyers, and the trial of which 
brought out the late Senator Vest's splendid trib- 
ute to the dog. 

Old residents said that at this time in 1869 
in Missouri wild game was in sight and the male 
residents kept their hound dogs for the chase. 
Burden kept a pack and among them was 
"Old Drum," the dog that he said "never 
lied," When this dog gave tongue his owner 
knew what it was about. This dog led the 
pack and in October of 1869 he was in the 
neighborhood of five years old. Black and tan, 
and Burden had been heard to express the opinion 
that there was some bloodhound in him. His 
owner often declared that money could not buy 


him, and that he was the best dog for deer he 
had ever possessed. 

Burden was a real honest-to-goodness hunter 
and had, on a number of times, crossed the 
plains. Six feet tall with blue eyes and light hair, 
he had a strong constitution and at the time was 
in his prime. Like the real doggy man of the 
present day Burden loved a Old Drum." They 
were real comrades, and next to Burden's family 
came the hound. 

A few miles from the Burden homstead lived 
Hornsby, described as a small wiry man with red 
hair, a vigorous man, and a hunter. 

During the few months of the summer and 
fall of 1869, Hornsby had lost many sheep 
killed by dogs, and made his threat that he 
would kill the first dog he found on his 
property. He had himself hunted with "Old 
Drum" as he had with others of his neighbor's 

It was on the evening of October 28, 1869, 
that Burden and Frank Hornsby sitting about the 
former's house heard a gun fired, the report com- 
ing from the direction of the home of Lon 
Hornsby. Only one shot was heard but Burden 
expressed the fear' that one of his dogs had been 
killed. He left his house to listen but heard noth- 
ing. He blew his horn for the dogs, and all came 
up but "Old Drum" who failed to respond to the 
summons which rang out in the night. Once again 
Burden blew his horn but no answer from 

On this day Lon Hornsby and Dick Ferguson 


had been hunting around the lake and Big Creek 
and returned home when darkness came on. 
Around eight o'clock someone remarked that 
there was a dog in the yard. Lon told Dick to get 
a gun and shoot the dog, it was alleged. Dick 
secured the weapon, stepped out of the house and 
saw a dog in the shadow of a tree about thirty 
steps away. There was a report of the gun and 
howling of the canine mortally wounded. He ran 
toward the southwest and jumped over some stile 
blocks. The crying of the animal grew fainter and 
weaker until it at last died away. 

Here then started something. Started a litiga- 
tion which kept the attention of the Missouri' 
courts at five trials, including the famous speech of 
Senator Vest which is preserved to all posterity 
because of its truth and its appreciation to all 
dogs and their owners. 

Burden, the owner of "Old Drum," declared 
with great vehemence that he would have satis- 
faction at the cost of his own life, and on the next 
morning, that of October 29, 1869, Burden began 
his search for the old hound he loved so well. He 
went first to a neighbor, Hurley, of whom he in- 
quired if he had seen the hound. From there he 
went to the home of Lon Hornsby where he found 
the latter making cider. Hornsby was asked 
"What dog was that you shot last night?" The 
reply was that he had not shot any dog but that 
Dick had. Burden declared, "If it's my dog it's 
all wrong and I will have satisfaction at the cost 
of mylife." 

On the next morning "Old Drum" was found a 


few feet near the ford, on Big Creek, dead, his 
head filled with shot, in the water. Apparently 
he had been carried or dropped to this spot. It 
transpired that two dogs were shot at the same 
hour that night within two miles of each other, 
but only one body was found and that was Bur- 
den's hound. Burden decided right on the spot 
that he would go to law and get his revenge. 
Records show that he went to Kingsville and en- 
gaged counsel to sue Lon Hornsby, and the suit 
was duly filed in the court of Justice of the 
Peace Munroe in the town of Madison, and 
on November 29, 1869, the case went on 
trial. The law firm of Nation and Allen, at- 
torneys for Hornsby, presented a motion to dis- 
miss the action on the ground that the amount 
asked for, one hundred dollars, was outside the 
jurisdiction of the justice of the peace. The latter 
allowed Burden to amend his complaint, reducing 
the amount asked for to fifty dollars and the trial 
proceeded, ending in a disagreement of the jury. 

On January 27, 1870, the case again went to 
trial before the justice and the jury, assessed 
damages for Burden to the amount of twenty-five 
dollars, establishing to the satisfaction of the 
jurymen that Lon Hornsby had caused Dick Fer- 
guson to kill the hound. 

But the litigation had only just begun, the de- 
fendant appealing to the Johnson County Court 
of Common Pleas, where it was slated for trial 
in March, 1870, at Warrensburg. New attorneys 
had been retained by both sides, Crittenden and 
Cockrell for the defendant, Elliott and Blodgett 


for the plaintiff. At this trial of the now famous 
case, the defendant received a verdict in his favor. 
Thereupon Burden retained Phillips and Vest as 
counsel who presented a motion for a new trial, 
which motion was sustained after the plaintiff had 
advanced the claim that he had discovered new 

In October of 1870, the case went to trial for 
the second time in the Court of Common Pleas 
at Warrensburg, the trial taking place in the old 
courthouse which is still standing. The friends of 
both sides were out in force, depositions of wit- 
nesses from other states had been taken and were 
read. The attorneys for Burden proved the 
shooting at the defendant's dog, the finding of 
"Old Drum's" remains, and by deduction that on 
the night of the shooting, his body was carried to 
the creek and left there. Hornsby himself and 
witnesses showed the shooting of a dog, but 
denied that it was the hound that had been killed. 

After the evidence, and listening to the claims 
of the defense that "Old Drum" was not at the 
Hornsby house when a dog was killed, the case 
closed. Aguments were made by the attorneys. 
What all these attorneys said is not remembered 
distinctly, but the closing argument for Burden by 
George Graham Vest, is reverberating along 
down all these years. 

Mr. Vest at this time was busy preparing a case 
which finally went to the Missouri Supreme Court 
in which he was counsel for appellants, which 
case involved a controversy over the lease of a 
farm in Jbhnson County, Missouri, the lessees 


finding that when the time arrived for them to 
take possession of the farm, a farmer tenant hold- 
ing over, refused to surrender possession. 

The day of the great speech for the dog was a 
cold one, so cold that Mr. Vest had not taken 
time to shave before leaving his hotel for the 
courthouse, the hotel being across the street from 
the courthouse. 

The exact facts of Senator Vest's connection 
with the case, as now related to the author by a 
member of the Senator's family, is as follows : 

That Senator Vest, a young lawyer at that time, 
was attending a session of the circuit Court at 
Warrensburg, Missouri, and that while waiting 
for the trial of a case in which he was interested, 
a case came up for trial in which a farmer filed 
an action in damages against a neighbor for the 
unlawful killing of his hound dog, in the amount 
of fifty dollars. The lawyer who represented the 
plaintiff in the case invited young Vest to aid him 
in the trial of the claim for damages. Vest agreed 
to do so for the stipulated fee of ten dollars. 
During the examination and cross examination of 
the witnesses, both for the plaintiff and the de- 
fense, Vest kept absolutely quiet and took no part 
in the proceeding. When the witnesses on both 
sides had all been heard, and the time had arrived 
for arguments to the jury, the plaintiff's lawyer 
made the opening address to the jury, the defense 
lawyer then spoke and the plaintiff's lawyer then 
asked young Vest if he did not care to address 
the jury. Vest said no, he thought the case had 
been tried as well as it could be tried, and the 


plaintiff's lawyer then said that if he did not take 
some part in the proceedings, he thought that his 
client would object to him receiving any fee and 
that he had better make the closing address to the 
jury. Young Vest then arose and without notes 
or any preparation at all, spoke the few words 
which have become so famous. 

At the close of his address tears were running 
down the faces of several members of the jury, 
and after but three or four minutes' deliberation, 
the jury returned to the court and announced that 
they had found for the plaintiff and assessed dam- 
ages against the defendant in the sum of $500.00. 
The court then instructed the jury that the dam- 
ages could not be assessed in excess of the amount 
prayed for in the petition, which was $50.00, so 
the damages were then assessed at $50.00. 

The address to the jury by Mr. Vest which will 
ever be a monument to "Old Drum" and the 
canine race is couched in this language: 

"Gentlemen of the Jury: The best friend a 
man has in the world may turn against him and 
become his enemy. His son or daughter that he 
has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. 
Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those 
whom we trust with our happiness and our good 
name may become traitors to their faith. 
The money that a man has he may lose. 
It flies away from him, perhaps, when he 
needs it most. A man's reputation may be sacri- 
ficed in a moment of ill-considered action. The 
people who are prone to fall on their knees to 
do us honor when success is with us may be the 


first to throw the stone of malice when failure 
settles its cloud upon our heads. The one abso- 
lutely unselfish friend that man can have in this 
selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the 
one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, 
is his dog. A man's dog stands by him in pros- 
perity and poverty, in health and sickness. He 
will sleep on the cold ground where the wintry 
winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only 
he may be near his master's side. He will kiss the 
hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the 
wounds and sores that come in encounter with the 
roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of 
his pauper master as if he were a prince. When 
all other friends desert he remains. When riches 
take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as 
constant in his love as the sun in its journey 
through the heavens. 

"If fortune drives the master forth an outcast 
in the world, friendless and homeless, the faith- 
ful dog asks no higher privilege than that of 
accompanying him, to guard against danger, to 
fight against his enemies, and when the last scene 
of all comes, and death takes the master in its 
embrace, and his body is laid away in the cold 
ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their 
way, there by the graveside will the noble dog be 
found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad, 
but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true 
even in death." 

After two trials before the trial justice and 
two in the Court of Common Pleas, the end was 
not in sight* The defendant's counsel appealed the 


action to the Supreme Court of Missouri alleging 
that the justice had erred in permitting the 
amendment of the statement from $100.00 to 
$50.00 and that the Common Pleas Court erred 
in giving Burden a new trial. Supreme Court Jus- 
tice Bliss ruled against the defendant in the fol- 
lowing decision : 

"Suit was brought originally before a Justice 
of the Peace for killing plaintiff's dog, and the 
damages were laid at $100.00. On motion to dis- 
miss for excess of claim, the plaintiff amended his 
statement so as to make his claim but $50.00 and 
went to trial. This leave to amend is the first 
error complained of, but it was perfectly proper 
to make the correction. The defendant appealed 
and upon trial the verdict was in his favor. The 
court however on the plaintiff's motion, granted 
a new trial, and this is also claimed to be erro- 
neous. It has long since been settled in Missouri 
that error will not lie for granting a new trial. 
The reasons are set forth in Helm vs. Bassett 9 
Mo. 52 and the doctrine is affirmed in Keating 
vs. Bradford 25 Mo. 86. Upon the second trial 
the evidence was all submitted to the jury upon 
fair instructions, and the case should have stopped 
there. I find no error whatever in the record. 
Judgment affirmed. The other judges concur." 

Thus the Missouri Supreme Court and the 
Common Pleas Court affirmed that Ferguson by 
the direction of Lon Hornsby killed "Old Drum." 

About everybody who figured in the case has 
passed away. Charles Burden died in Holden, 
Missouri; Hornsby is dead, and all the attorneys 


are dead. Senator Cockrell died December 13, 
1915, and John F. Philips on March 13, 1919. 
Colonel A. W. Rogers also an attorney for the 
defendant was one of the founders of Phi Delta 
Theta while at Miami University of Ohio. Sen- 
ator Cockrell, Confederate soldier, known as 
Missouri's grand old man, wanted to be Gov- 
ernor of Missouri in 1874, and lacked only one- 
sixth of one vote in a state convention of secur- 
ing the nomination which would have given him 
the election. This is believed to be the closest 
shave on record for an important office. 

Silas S. Woodson was nominated for Governor. 
Also besides Cockrell, were candidates Colman 
and George Graham Vest. The people of Mis- 
souri who remember this vigorous campaign for 
the governorship of Missouri in '74 tell the story 
of that toward the end of the race Vest went 
home and somebody asked him how he was get- 
ting on. "Oh, hell," he replied, "I am doing no 
good. It seems to me half of the Confederate 
Army must have served in CockrelPs brigade." 

When the war closed, Vest returned to Mis- 
souri from the Confederate Senate and Cockrell 
from the Confederate Army, the two men locat- 
ing in two great, rich adjoining counties. Vest 
went into partnership with John F. Philips, a 
Union Colonel while Cockrell formed a partner- 
ship with Thomas T. Crittenden, another Union 

For forty years these two law firms dominated 
the politics of Missouri. The late Champ Clark, 
himself long a national figure, once stated that no 


state ever had a better senatorial team than 
Cockrell and Vest who served side by side in the 
United States Senate for twenty-four years. Clark 
characterized Vest as one of the crack orators of 
his generation and Cockrell as one of the most 
indefatigable workers who ever lived, that Vest 
and Cockrell were effective, strong speakers, the 
former being witty, humorous, sarcastic, eloquent 
and lathered the Republicans up with vitriol so as 
to infuriate them almost to apoplexy, while Cock- 
rell confined himself to historic facts, and made a 
specialty of arithmetic. 

The firm of Philips and Vest and the firm of 
Crittenden and Cockrell were linked together by 
the ties of friendship and religion and the trials 
of war. All four were Presbyterians. CockrelPs 
retirement from the United States Senate in 1905 
resulted from a Republican legislature electing 
William Warner to succeed him. President 
Roosevelt's comment on this change was that the 
people of Missouri had lost a faithful servant, 
but that the government would not lose him, and 
he appointed Cockrell a member of the Interstate 
Commerce Commission. 

In the report of the case, Charles Burden vs. 
Leonidas Hornsby 50 Mo. 238, less than one 
page is taken by the entire case, the opinion of 
Justice Bliss covering less than half a page. Dave 
Nation, one of the first attorneys in the suit 
attained no fame outside of his own town, but 
he was the husband of Carrie Nation, famous for 
a time as the "woman with the hatchet." 

The courthouse in which the Vest speech was 


made, still standing in Warrensburg, has been the 
mecca of visitors from every state in the Union 
in the years since 1870. The record and all the 
filings in the case are still in the office of the 
Clerk of the Circuit Court in Warrensburg, and 
have been perused many, many times. The record 
itself fails, of course, to tell the real story of the 
human interest this lawsuit brought forth. Thou- 
sands of copies of Senator Vest's address have 
been circulated all over this country and many 
parts of Europe. How it has been set up as the 
slogan of dog-lovers of the United States, many 
of whom having been left friendless, still lived 
on with only the dog for a companion. 

Hounds of the "Old Drum" type were "folks" 
in Missouri sixty years ago as they are "folks" 
in South Carolina today. Their masters were all 
bound up in them and today in South Carolina 
the owner of "Ring" a clever foxhound, paid 
$1000.00 to get him dug out of a den, after six 
days' captivity, resulting from chasing a fox. 
"Ring" died a few hours after he was rescued, of 
pneumonia, and his owner expended another large 
sum to provide a suitable marker for "Ring's" 
last resting place. 

Hounds especially "eat" themselves into the 
affections of their masters, and "Old Drum," hero 
of the most famous dog case in all history, and 
"Ring," leader of the hounds at Woodruff, South 
Carolina, are two noted examples of this breed, 
although they lived nearly sixty years apart. In 
fact, all dogs were "folks" in Missouri sixty years 
ago, as is further evidenced by another dog case 


in that state, which like the Burden case finally 
wound up in the Supreme Court of Missouri for 
final disposition. Jacob Cantting was the plain- 
tiff in this case, and the Han. & St. Joe R. R. Co. 
was the defendant. 

Cantting was returning from a hunting expedi- 
tion and boarded a train of the defendant at St. 
Joseph. His dog was with him, a well trained 
setter and valuable, he claimed, as a water dog, 
He claimed he was informed by the baggage- 
master of the train, that the animal would not be 
allowed in the passenger coach, and Cantting 
claimed he placed the dog in the charge of the 
baggage-master and paid the latter for the dog's 
transportation. By the regulations which were 
posted at the various stations "live animals" were 
allowed as baggage-masters' perquisites. 

The plaintiff claimed the baggage-master 
agreed to transport the dog to New Cambria for 
$1.50, which was paid. He further claimed that 
the railroad employe delivered the dog to some 
person, not the owner, and at some station, not 
New Cambria. The plaintiff in his suit recovered 
a verdict for $90.00, and the railroad carried 
the case to the Missouri Supreme Court at the 
October term in 1873, which sustained the ver- 
dict. The principal witness for the plaintiff in the 
lower court said the animal was worth $100.00. 
Several other witnesses were examined as to the 
value of hunting dogs and testified their price 
varied from $50.00 to $75.00, admitting how- 
ever that this depended very much on the fancy 
of the purchaser. 


Senator Vest, while the man who gave the 
greatest speech for the dog in all history, was at 
the same time in favor of all agencies to prevent 
the inflicting of injury by dogs. He once said, "I 
cannot conceive a case in which there ought to be 
any question about muzzling every dog in a town 
or city where there is any sort of suspicion that 
this terrible malady (rabies) exists." 

"If there is a possibility of their being such a 
disease, I would muzzle every dog in this county, 
rather than have a single human suffer from it." 

Some people are willing to keep fancy dogs, 
even if they pay $500.00 or $1000.00, as some 
insane people do, Mr. Vest remarked once, and 
he said he had very little respect for them. 

The wonderful command of language of Mr. 
Vest as evidenced in his speech for the dog, was 
many times shown in his tributes on the death of 
some of the great Americans during the present 

The passing of Vice-President Thomas A. Hen- 
dricks in 1885, called forth a beautiful tribute 
from Vest, in part as follows : 

"He was the noblest type of American man- 
hood, self-reliant and self-made. Incorruptible in 
public life and pure in private conduct, asking and 
giving no quarter. He did not sprinkle rosewater 
over the enemies of his party, nor give sweet- 
meats to the political wolves and tigers ready to 
spring at his throat. He died suddenly as falls 
a chieftain on some stricken field, and it was well. 
Better one pang, one throb, than weeks of pain 
and slow decay. Better to fall like the struck 


eagle whose full stretched wing droops in mid- 
heaven above the mountain top, than to writhe 
through weary days and sleepless nights waiting 
the inevitable hour." 

Senator Vest's splendid eulogy of the dog finds 
echo this year in an opinion by Asst. Attorney- 
General Holland of Missouri, regarding the 
status of a u houn' dawg," in answer to a request 
by a Missouri man to the Governor of that state 
wherein the man sought to know what rights at- 
tached to his dog by reason of the license he had 
procured for him. Mr. Holland's opinion is full 
of human interest and says : 

"Speaking personally, I indulge the hope that 
the discussion which follows will interest you. I 
must confess that the eulogy of the dog by the 
late Senator Vest left such a profound impression 
upon me that I cannot resist the temptation 
offered by your letter to restate, in much humbler 
language, the regard in which men hold dogs and 
the laws they have caused to be enacted concern- 
ing them. 

"It may be well to recall the questions that you 
ask by way of obeisance to the shrine of legal 
order* Your letter follows: 

" 'I am writing you to find out where a dog 
license is any protection to a dog. If not, where 
is the use of paying out that money. The Mayor 
here says a license does not protect the dog in the 
least; that, if it leaves home, the officer has a 
right to kill it. Will you please let me know where 
a license does protect the dog and does it have 
a right away from home, either day or night?" 


"The State of Missouri devotes an entire chap- 
ter of the Revised Statutes of 1919 to 'Dogs.' It 
solemnly assures us that a 'dog (section 4353) 
shall be held and construed to mean all animals 
of the canine species, whether male or female.' 
From that simple pronouncement there evolves a 
widening circle of state and municipal legislation 
that weaves about every canine who after nine 
days of darkness opens his eyes upon the sturdy 
mountains and verdant rolling plains of our great 

"In the all-inclusive fold above outlined we find 
the aristocracy and the serfdom of the dog. It 
includes the snobbish Pomeranian, curled in sweet 
contentment upon the social dowager's lap; it 
embraces the rugged, stately and commanding St. 
Bernard; the fine-limbed, alert, aggressive police 
dog; and, lest we stoop to sacrilegious forgetful- 
ness, it comprehends also the reliable and rever- 
enced old 'houn' dawg' of Missouri tradition. 

"Somewhere between these vast extremes there 
stands your dog, a lonely figure in this towering 
controversy that has already whisked into its 
maelstrom the Governor of your state, the Mayor 
of your city, and finally, with a confession of deep 
humility in the presence of such august array, your 
humble servant. 

"This framework lays the foundation for us 
to repeat anew the position your dog or any of 
his species holds in our complex social scheme. 

"First, we consider him as he is, a legal entity. 
He is your personal property. The courts have 
so declared. The sparkling Kohinoor diamond; 


the vast array of furniture under which the May- 
flower struggled to these shores; the antiques of 
the Napoleonic period; the tapestries of the 
Hapsburgs of other days he is as they are per- 
sonal property; only that and nothing more. 

"The state, with its inherent rights to tax, has 
made its levy upon all of these. They have no 
privilege but to be. They exist, and, because they 
do, the state exacts its due. 

"The right to tax a dog, basically, is as old as 
tax itself. It is no sentimental thing. The state 
does not envision the high intelligence of your 
dog's searching eyes; it is denied the thrill you 
have in the furious greeting of its wagging tail; 
it does not comprehend the fond and loving joy- 
fulness of his welcome. To the state your dog is 
just a chattel. He is, and, because he is, you 
must pay tribute to government for the pleasure 
that ownership gives you in any personal prop- 

"However, taxing a dog is a municipal func- 
tion. As this great century dawned, the great 
state of Kentucky, which had theretofore en- 
shrined and ennobled the horse, declared in 1901 
that a tax on dogs was a valid exercise of the 
police power to regulate the ownership and keep- 
ing of dogs. 

"Six years sped by. And then the State of 
California, land of sunset and of census, rushed 
in to say that taxing dogs was not inconsistent 
with the right of cities to license any kind of busi- 
ness not prohibited by law. It declared in solemn 
mandate that the levy of the tax need not be made 


at any day certain, nor would it be void for fail- 
ure to do this. The thought persists that it 
granted the dog at no time planned or sought to 
evade the tax, and that, when the bright and 
shining disc of license was placed upon his collar, 
he was no whit the wiser nor any whit the happier. 

"Thus far everything has been against the dog. 
The drone of constant tax has been about his 
ears. But then came New York with the first step 
in his behalf. It thrust aside the clicking of its 
stock tickers and ignored its sunrise curfew law. 
It said in one sweet dulcet tone that he was en- 
titled to broader rights, greater protection and 
professional care and then in a deep and 
strident crescendo roared out its declaration that 
he still must bow beneath the weight of tax 
even as you and I. 

"It said briefly that a tax on dogs might be 
levied, and then diverted to a specially incorpor- 
ated humane society, where the funds thus ob- 
tained would be deployed over the army of less 
fortunate and untaxed dogs. 

"The world waited for Missouri. The tax and 
the care of dogs had been adjudicated. What of 
his life? 

"Missouri held, under the spell of Christmas 
of 1924, that, if a man shot a dog maliciously, he 
must pay his owner twice his value ; if he shot him, 
but without malice, then his actual value. The 
presumption lies that, if he shot him in any other 
mental attitude, it was too bad for dog and owner, 

"This brings us to what your dog may do under 


the license granted by your city. The state, you 
know, has passed the privilege on to your city, 
and this matter really is between you and your 
home town. 

"The license protects your dog in his right to 
be just what he is, your dog. If you were to 
refuse to pay taxes upon your house, the state 
might sell it; if you refused to pay tax upon your 
income to the state or federal government, you 
might be fined or imprisoned. So with your dog. 
It means only that you have paid the state its 
tribute for ownership of property and earned the 
right to the companionship of 'man's noblest 
friend.' As for the dog, it is nothing more than 
a constitutional occupation tax; his simple occu- 
pation is to be a dog. 

" 'And does it have a right to stay away from 
home, either day or night?' you ask. 

"There comes the saddest phase of all this case. 
It summons up the thought of unrequited love. 
Why should a dog, with a master so tender of his 
interest that he invokes the intervention of the 
Governor himself, desire to be away from home, 
either day or night? This question is one of 
canine fickleness that defies the research of any 
legal huntsman. It lies entrenched within the 
realm of the psychologist. 

"His right to be away from home, legally, lies 
in whether he is muzzled or on leash in accord- 
ance with municipal regulation. He must be kept 
by you at all times where a striking fancy or pass- 
ing whim would not permit him to do harm to 
others. This is not harsh, and yet the mandate 


is final and unyielding. Remember the same 
sovereignty that cries out its warning to your dog 
in another moment thrusts a millionaire behind 
the bars. 

"Thus a license merely is the state's approval 
of your right to hold property. The city must 
tell you how to tie him up and hedge him in. The 
mayor is right; long live the mayor. 

"Some comfort there should be. As witness: 

" 'When all other friends desert, he remains. 
When riches take wing and reputation falls to 
pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its 
journey through the heavens.' 

"Senator Vest said that. I repeat it. You and 
every one will grant it. A license is his only due. 
Give it to him and be content. 

"I trust this letter does not bore nor tire you. 
But memories of Maryville are happy in my retro- 
spect. Tell Bill Phares and Fred Hull about your 
dog, and they will agree with me that he is yours 
to have and to enjoy with license. " 




Mr. Vest's great interest in the Yellowstone 
National Park was apparent soon after his elec- 
tion in 1879 to the United States Senate, and he 
was a member of the Presidential party which 
passed through the park in 1883 and which beside 
Mr. Vest was made up of Honorable Chester A. 
Arthur, President of the United States, John S. 
Crosby, Governor of Montana territory, Michael 
V. Sheridan, Lieutenant-Colonel and Military 
Secretary, Lieutenant-General Philip H. Sher- 
man of the United States Army, Brigadier-Gen- 
eral Anson Stager, United States Vol., Captain 
W. A. Clark, 2nd Cavalry United States Army, 
D. G. Rollins, Surrogate of New York, Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel James F. Gregory, Honorable Robert 
T. Lincoln, Secretary of War. 

Perhaps the most interesting part of the jour- 
ney was between Fort Washakie, Wyoming, and 
the Northern Pacific Railroad at Cinnabar, Mon- 
tana, the party traveling entirely by horseback, 
and with it was a pack train escorted by a com- 
pany of cavalry. Couriers were at every twenty 
miles with fresh relays so that the party was able 
to communicate daily with the world at large and 


it traveled in all three hundred and fifty miles 
over some very wild country. 

Along the route the real enjoyable pastime was 
trout fishing in which Senator Vest was an adept. 
This expedition and various others into the region 
of the park had more or less bearing on the enact- 
ment of the National Park Protective Act in 
1894, an act to protect the animals in the park. 

President Arthur on this trip was the guest of 
Lieutenant-General Sheridan. No newspaper 
representative was in the party and associated 
press dispatches were sent while the party was en 
route, most of them being written by Lieutenant- 
Colonel M. V. Sheridan and by Lieutenant- 
Colonel J. F. Gregory, and at least one dispatch 
was written by the other members of the party in- 
cluding Mr. Vest, except President Arthur, who 
however heard the dispatches read and approved 
them before they were sent. 

Senator Vest in the Senate was the outstanding 
friend of the park, and opposed the various segre- 
gative schemes involving the park, and he was 
invariably on guard against anything which might 
work to its injury. Senator Vest went into every 
phase of the Yellowstone Park question. Its early 
history, and the various expeditions and scientific 
explorations from the time of John Colter, a 
member of the Lewis and Clark expedition who 
was the first white man to view any part of what 
is now Yellowstone Park. In 1807 after being 
wounded in a battle between the Crow and Black- 
feet Indians, he journeyed across the park from 


Jackson Hole to Tomer Fall and carried the first 
accounts to civilization. 

When it became apparent that the Govern- 
ment would never consent to the construction of a 
railroad within the park, it was sought to compass 
the same by cutting off that portion of the reserva- 
tion outside of and including the present right of 

In one of his speeches to the Senate, opposing 
the segregation project, Mr. Vest referred to this 
subject with great indignation, saying: u When 
these states (Montana, Wyoming and Idaho) 
were territories, and not represented in the Sen- 
ate, I considered it the duty of every Senator, as 
this park belonged to all the people of the United 
States to defend its integrity and to keep it for 
the purposes for which it was originally designed. 
Since Senators have come from those states, who, 
of course, must be supposed to know more about 
that park than those of us who live at distance, 
and since they have manifested a disposition to 
mutilate it, I must confess that my interest in it 
has rather flopped and I feel very much disposed, 
in plain language, to wash my hands of the whole 
business. If the constituencies who are more 
benefited than any others, can possibly be in the 
park, are willing to see it cut off, the best disposi- 
tion of the matter would be to turn it over to the 
public, let the full greed and avarice of the 
country have their scope, let the geysers be divided 
out and taken for the purpose of washing clothes, 
let the water of that splendid waterfall in the 
Yellowstone River be used to turn machinery, let 


the timber be cut off; in other words, destroy the 
park, and make it a sacrifice to the greed of this 
advanced age in which we live." 

Senator Vest visited the park in all five times 
and he impressed upon his colleagues that he 
came to be interested in the reservation by acci- 
dent and that he felt it his duty to resist what he 
considered to be deadly attacks from time to time 
upon the integrity of this reservation, and he cited 
the fact that Congress, long before he came into 
that body, had set aside thirty-three hundred 
square feet for a reservation in the Rocky Moun- 
tains as a National Park. The Senator main- 
tained that in 1879 soon after he entered the 
Senate, it was intended to turn the reservation 
into a cattle ranch, and he felt it was his duty to 
resist that attempt and he was successful in his 

Senator Vest claimed that after that time, at- 
tempts were made at every session to run a rail- 
road into the park, subordinate all its purposes as 
a park and all its attractiveness as a place with 
natural scenery and objects of curiosity, to com- 
mercial and mercenary purposes. 

These schemes of fixing the boundaries of the 
park as argued in the Senate on various occasions 
would have cut off all that part of the park north 
of the Yellowstone River, according to Senator 
Vest. The plan so vigorously opposed by the Mis- 
souri Senator finally went off on a point of order. 

Senator Vest in this controversy declared he 
had been maligned and slandered and that there 
had been imputed to him all sorts of sinister de- 


sires, and his contention freely expressed was that 
if a railroad was put through the reservation 
every particle of timber on the north side would 
be burned off, and that it would be taken upon 
one pretext or another and destroyed by forest 
fires generated by sparks from locomotives. 

Opponents to the plan of railroads in the park 
argued with vigor that there were no private 
interests on the borders of the reservation whose 
development was jeopardized by the declination 
of the government to give access to them by a rail- 
road line in the park so far as the enjoyment of 
tourists was concerned, and that a line along the 
southern border would fill the bill just as well, and 
serve the adjacent country better, and further 
that there was no occasion to build an electric line 
in the reservation and that nearly all the people 
who visited the section were against it. 

Mr. Vest further evidenced his great interest 
in the park by securing the passage of an amend- 
ment which carried with it a salary of $2000.00 
annually to the superintendent of the park and 
$900.00 annually to ten assistants, these officials 
to be appointed by the Secretary of the Interior 
and live in the park, their duty being to protect 
the game, timber, and objects of interest. Mr. 
Vest presented this amendment for the reason 
that prior to this time, the superintendent of the 
park was only there a few months in the year and 
that while he was away an immense amount of 
game was killed and geysers had been destroyed. 

These geysers are the most wonderful, the most 
singular of all the productions of nature on this 


continent, have their eruptions at regular inter- 
vals of half an hour, an hour, or an hour and a 
half, declared the Senator. 

He opposed a move to allow the Secretary of 
the Interior to lease small portions of the park, 
not exceeding eighty acres in each tract on which 
hotels could be erected for a period not exceeding 
ten years. 

Mr. Vest contended that the leasing of the 
tracts should be limited in area to twenty acres each, 
holding that the principle upon which the park 
should be managed was that there should be com- 
petition and that no one company should have a 
monopoly of the view, of the ground, of the tim- 
ber, of the water, of anything in the park. By 
the time the Missouri Senator had got through 
with the proposition, the Senate had voted to 
limit the area of the tracts leased to ten acres. 

In 1887 Mr. Vest was directly responsible for 
increasing the yearly appropriation made for the 
park from $20,000.00 to $40,000.00 and he de- 
clared at this time that "It is the most wonderful 
region upon this continent. That it must be under- 
stood that this enormous extent of country, nearly 
thirty-four hundred square miles, is utterly useless 
except for the purposes of a park. Upon the south 
it is a volcanic country covered everywhere with 
lava deposits. There are no minerals there, no 
agricultural resource, no grazing lands, simply fit 
for the purpose of a park, and nothing else." 

This great National Park at the present time 
is approximately sixty-two miles long and fifty- 
four miles wide, an area of thirty-three hundred 


forty-eight square miles and is under the control 
of the National Park service of the Interior 
Department. It is without doubt the best known 
of any National Park and its geysers are famous 
the world over. Most of the park, as is well 
known, is in northwestern Wyoming, encroaching 
to a small extent upon Montana and Idaho. The 
entire area is volcanic. 

Trout fishermen know what trout fishing in 
Yellowstone waters is, and Senator Vest upon his 
visit there with President Arthur in 1883 had a 
good taste of real trout fishing. All three of the 
great water sheds in the park are the mecca of 
trout fishermen, Yellowstone Lake, being the 
home of the large trout, and the Yellowstone 
River furnish good catches to the trout enthu- 
siasts. Experts declare that waters as remote as 
possible should always be sought as the more ac- 
cessible streams are fished so much by the many 
thousands of visitors that the trout become wary. 

The late Missouri Senator, had he lived, would 
have noted the fact of the great number of 
motorists who annuallly visit the big reservation 
in their own cars. The motorization of the park, 
now complete, gives the tourist a chance to pass 
a far greater proportion of his time in sight-see- 
ing, the National Park service having developed 
the trail system rapidly, some hundreds of miles 
of good trails being now available for the horse- 
back rider and hiker. 

Three months, from June 19 to September 19, 
comprise the tourist season at the park. The 
period between June 1 and 19 and September 19 


and October 15, admittance is only to those who 
are equipped to camp along the roads or trails. 

It is indeed to the everlasting fame of Mr. 
Vest, the man who fought against encroachments 
at the reservation, that today over three thou- 
sand square miles of mountains and valleys re- 
main almost as nature made them, no tree has 
been chopped down except when necessary for 
road or camp. Most of the visitors keep to the 
beaten road and the wild animals seem to appre- 
ciate the fact that they mean them no harm. 

Twenty years following the visit of President 
Arthur to the park, occurred the second visit of a 
President of the United States to this great reser- 
vation. Theodore Roosevelt was the second 
President to make the trip, arriving at the park, 
April 8, accompanied by John Burroughs, the 
famous naturalist, and they remained there six- 
teen days. Mr. Roosevelt passed a week in camp 
near Yancey's, and traveled considerably by 
horseback, this part of the visit giving the Presi- 
dent a great opportunity to look into the question 
of game preservation. On his last day at the 
park, Mr. Roosevelt assisted, April 24, in laying 
the cornerstone of the new entrance gate at 
Gardiner, and after the exercises he delivered an 
address on the park to about three thousand 

In the vigorous work of the earlier years of 
the park when the fight to get railroads across it 
was on, three men fought for the park on every 
occasion and against cutting it up with railroad 
lines. These men were the late Senator Vest, the 


late William Hallett Phillips and George Bird 
Grinnell, who later was widely known as the editor 
of Forest and Stream. Mr. Vest was a vigorous 
fighter in the Senate for what he believed to be 
the right, and there were few Senators there who 
could present any proposition in as clear a light. 
He entered into the controversy over the park 
with great fervor and was ever watchful of any 
attempt by the railroads to encroach upon its 

George Bird Grinnell also figured as one of the 
civil assistants to Captain William Ludlow of the 
corps of engineers when the latter in 1875 made 
a reconnoissance from Carroll Mount on the Mis- 
souri River to the Yellowstone Park and return. 
He obtained at that time a very accurate measure- 
ment of the height of the Yellowstone Falls and 
his report is a very able short description of the 

Mr. Vest could scarcely have conceived at the 
close of his senatorial career in 1903, that in a 
little over twenty years later, the park he did so 
much to establish would be visited by nearly 150,- 
000 people in a single year. But such is the fact, 
the records for 1924 showing that 144,158 
visitors visited the reservation in that year, of 
which 100,186 came in 30,689 autos. In 1923 
there were 138,352 visitors, of whom 91,224 
came in 27,359 autos. These visitors represented 
every state in the Union as well as Alaska, 
Hawaii, the Canal Zone, the Philippines and 
twenty-three foreign countries. The estimate of 
the number of autoists camping out in the public 


grounds in the park is placed at 85,000. As the 
park season comprises only the period between 
June 20 and September 20, these figures show a 
great gathering of people in a few months. 

Senator Vest clearly saw years ago that to ex- 
clude railroads from the park was a long way 
toward retaining the reservation in its original 
condition. The question was once put to a vote of 
tourists and the vote was ninety-five per cent, in 
favor of the complete exclusion of every form of 

Today there is in the park the so-called canyon 
auto camp, covering a flat of ground about thirty 
acres in extent along the main road from Yellow- 
stone Lake to Tower Falls, the ground being level 
but for a small area, the remainder having a slope 
and the location is in many ways ideal. The work 
of Mr. Vest and the other friends of this great 
reservation results today in one of the most per- 
fect natural rendezvous for automobile tourists in 
the world. 

Unquestionably it could have had no more 
astute friend in the Senate than was Mr. Vest. 
Absolutely fearless and with a thorough knowl- 
edge of the subject, he fought hard to retain the 
reservation in its original condition. And the pro- 
moters of the plans to secure rights of way for 
railroads were not long in finding out that in the 
United States Senate the Senator from Missouri 
was always on the job. 

This was still further evidenced by his bill in 
the Senate in 1890 which passed that body and 
provided that the Secretary of the Interior and 


the Postmaster-General should select a suitable 
site at Mammoth Hot Springs in the Yellowstone 
National Park and cause to be erected thereon a 
suitable building for the use and accommodation 
of the post office at that place, the buildings not 
to exceed in cost $10,000. and the plans and 
specifications to be furnished by the supervising 
architect of the Treasury and be approved by the 
Secretary of the Interior and the Postmaster- 
General before the work should be begun. The 
site selected was to leave the building unexposed 
to danger by fire by an open space of at least one 
hundred feet. 

In explanation of his bill, the Senator at that 
time declared it was no town at all, but simply a 
post office at the Springs, and that a large amount 
of mail was received there during the summer 
months by tourists, and no building there was suit- 
able for a post office. It transpired that there had 
been a postmaster there for some years previous, 
the business being conducted in a frame shanty 
where there was no security from fire and no 

Mammoth Hot Springs, as is well known, is the 
point in the park where later on a big transforma- 
tion of natural conditions by the work of men has 
been allowed. Various buildings have been erected 
there, a hotel, the weather bureau building and 
the office of the United States Commissioner. Also 
garrison buildings were provided. 

All through Senator Vest's long career in the 
Senate, anything pertaining to the reservation was 
sure to receive the fullest consideration from him. 


He was wont to say that he knew the audience 
before which he stood and the age in which he 
lived. He appealed to the Senators whose states 
were upon the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to 
resist attempts to fix the boundaries of the park 
to permit railroads, and his efforts were invariably 

Mr. Vest argued that his interest and that of 
these Senators were directed to preserving the 
growth of timber and the grasses and ferns which 
grew upon the sides of the mountains along the 
great tributary of the Missouri River, the Yel- 
lowstone. He declared that millions of dollars 
were being expended to prevent the floods which 
rush down the Missouri and Mississippi rivers 
and which destroyed farms and plantations. And 
that if the timber on the headwaters of the Mis- 
souri River should be destroyed, the immense fall 
of water, the rainfall which comes but once in ten 
or twelve months, would rush down a bare and 
exposed declivity upon each side of these waters, 
and would then sweep in resistless volume through 
the state of Missouri and all the states contiguous 
upon the Missouri and Mississippi rivers until 
they reached the Gulf, and that taking away the 
ferns and vegetables upon the banks of these 
streams would increase the floods largely when 
they reached the lower regions. 

At the close of one warm debate in the Senate 
on this question Mr. Vest exclaimed: 

"I have no earthly interest in the matter except 
to protect this park. If ever mortal man stood 


here utterly disinterested in this subject, I stand 
in that condition tonight." 

Among the outstanding utterances of Senator 
Vest were his remarks to his fellow Senators in 
1883, four years after his entrance to that body, 
which may be cited in closing. 

The subject for discussion at that time, was 
the pension bill for the Union soldiers, and Mr. 
Vest declared that in the four years he had voted 
for every pension bill that had come before the 
body. He asserted that if the Confederacy had 
won, to which he was devoted body 'and soul from 
the beginning to the end of the conflict, he would 
have voted the last dollar of money, and the last 
acre of land within its limits to have paid the 
maimed, wounded and disabled soldiers of the 
Confederate Army and that the people of the 
United States to whom Providence gave triumph 
in the conflict, have the same right, and not only 
the same right but the same duty imposed upon 

There can be but little doubt that George G. 
Vest from the time he made his famous speech for 
the dog, nearly sixty years ago, and all through 
his service in the Senate, was one of the most pic- 
turesque figures in public life. A man of strong 
likes and dislikes, fearless and bold, his career 
was one of the most interesting during the half 
century. Associated with such mental giants as 
Senator Hoar of Massachusetts, Allison, Teller, 
the interest of the Missouri statesman in the pub- 
lic questions of the day was unflagging and broad- 
minded. Whether the matter to be considered 


was of local interest to the people of St. Louis or 
of national importance, it received the same care- 
ful attention, and a lengthy consideration of the 
activities of the men who were in public life dur- 
ing Mr. Vest's life, fail to disclose any who were 
more active than he, or whose interests were more 

It must be admitted beyond question that his 
splendid work for the Yellowstone National Park 
was the outstanding feature of his entire public 
career, and that his speech for the dog, in itself, 
was one of the most touching appeals in all 
history, and that as the years roll on, its pathos, 
its human interest, its statement of fact, will make 
a greater impression than ever. 

When Senator Vest's long public service was 
nearing its end, he expressed himself in the Sen- 
ate in 1902 in this language: 

"My public career will end in a very few 
months and I had fondly expected after the 
Spanish War that the men of the North and of 
the South who stood like brothers together 
against a foreign foe, would continue to stand like 
brothers in this time of peace. The people of the 
South are sincere mourners at the graves of Lin- 
coln, Grant, and McKinley, and no more honest 
tears were ever shed than those dropped upon the 
bier of our last President, from the eyes of men 
who had faced in battle the soldiers of the North 
during four long years. People of the North 
should remember that the South too has produced 
great and good and patriotic leaders. 

"They should remember that Washington, 


Jefferson, Robert E. Lee were slave-holders and 
differed widely upon that question with their 
brothers in the northern states. I shall never cease 
to feel kindly toward the present occupant of the 
White House, (Roosevelt) for what he said in 
the broad spirit of statesmanship and as a his- 
torian in his life of Thomas H. Benton, in regard 
to Robert E. Lee. He said that Robert E. Lee 
was by far the greatest general that ever came 
from the English speaking races. 

"I hope I may be pardoned if I speak briefly 
of Wade Hampton, whose memory will live for 
centuries to come among the people not only of 
the South but of the whole country. I knew him 
well and loved him sincerely. He was the highest 
type of a Christian gentleman, patient, brave, 
honest and unselfish. He was not depressed by 
adversity or unduly elated by prosperity. Having 
lost all except life and honor, he bowed submis- 
sively to the result of a great war, in which he 
shared the fortunes of his people." 

The late Henry Cabot Lodge, long a Senator 
from Massachusetts, and who was one of the most 
brilliant minds in the country, spoke these words 
of Senator Vest's remarks on President Roose- 
velt's estimate of Lee, and Vest's regard for Gen- 
eral Wade Hampton: 

u And certainly I think every one must share 
with me in the feeling of deep emotion with which 
we have this morning listened to his eloquence, 
always beautiful and impressive, but never more 
so than on this occasion." 

In closing, it is opportune to recall once more 


that the Missouri Senator on many occasions dur- 
ing his long public life, showed his independent 
thought, an instance being his opposition to the 
purchase by the Government of a sword once 
owned by General Washington for the sum of 
$20,000. It was proposed to purchase the sword 
from Miss Virginia Tayloe Lewis, a relative of 
Washington, which sword was bequeathed to her 
in the will of the first President of the United 

Mr. Vest claimed that such swords had no com- 
mercial value, and that the sword in question was 
not known to have been used by Washington in 
action. The Senator maintained that he had dis- 
tinctly said that he would be willing to go to any 
reasonable extent to evidence his veneration and 
that of the people he represented for the memory 
of Washington, and that he had simply said the 
price of the sword was enormous. 

The two questions which occupied the attention 
of Mr. Vest in 1903 in the closing days of his 
senatorial career were the Indian appropriation 
bill and the coal famine. The Senator declared 
with force that it was astonishing how little atten- 
tion was paid to any right constitutional or other- 
wise of the Indians. 

Mr. Roosevelt, in his life of Thomas H. Ben- 
ton, a wonderfully interesting book, according to 
Mr. Vest, said the North American Indians had 
been treated with great justice and clemency by 
the superior race, our race, and the Missouri Sen- 
ator said, "I do not agree with President Roose- 


velt. I think they have been shamefully robbed," 
and continuing he said: 

"I happened once to be a member of the Com- 
mittee on Indian Affairs of the Senate and I was 
assigned to a sub-committee to visit the Indian 
schools of Wyoming and Montana. I went to 
every Indian school whether under the control of 
the government or under the Jesuits and others. 
I think I have said and I repeat I never saw a 
single government day school that was worth one 
cent to the Indians or did anything to advance 
them toward Christianity and civilization. I re- 
member now perfectly and I believe I have stated 
before the visit I made to Fort Shaw in Montana. 
There were Crow, Blackfeet and some Turtle 
Mountain Indians some forty miles distant. It 
was surrounded by a stockade. I stayed there two 
days and found eight hundred and ninety odd 
children enrolled where there had not been ten in 
attendance at the school at any one day unless it 
was ration day, when meat was distributed among 
them. The agent was a superannuated clergyman 
from Rhode Island. There were two teachers of 
this school who were his daughters, and they ad- 
mitted as I found out personally on examination 
that these Indian children were taught nothing, 
and yet $2800. was paid out of the Treasury of 
the United States to these teachers and reports 
are made out at every session of Congress in 
behalf of day schools." 

In the great coal famine of 1903 Mr. Vest was 
to the front, presenting a resolution in the Senate 
that the tariff duty be removed from hard coal. 


This resolution got a hard batting, but the Mis- 
sourian was on his mettle and loudly expressed the 
opinion that the country was not on the verge of 
a crisis in regard to the coal question but was in it. 

Women and children were freezing to death 
and the whole country was shocked within a 
period of ten days by the statement that a poor 
woman and her child had frozen to death in a 
tenement house in New York, in the midst of 
wealth and luxury, was cited by Mr. Vest in his 
public utterances on the coal famine ; also that 
under the shadow of the Capitol at Washington 
a child of eleven was frozen to death while luxuri- 
ous vehicles were rolling across its asphalt streets, 
and people were preparing for the festivities of 

Mr. Vest spoke as a consumer and representing 
consumers, and claimed his only solicitude was 
how to find a remedy for what he characterized 
as a disgraceful, outrageous condition of affairs. 

"I know/' said he, u that the consumers are be- 
ing plundered day by day and hour by hour." 

The Senator closed his argument by stating 
that when he concluded to buy coke in Washing- 
ton, he was told the price was sixteen dollars a 
ton when the normal price of coke was about three 
dollars per ton. 



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